By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Sometimes, that arrow comes around and catches you in the fleshy regions.
Mariners closer Fernando Rodney fired his ritualistic pantomime arrow at the Angels’ bench Sunday afternoon after escaping a jam in the eighth inning.
The eighth inning.
Yes, it was premature. Bad karma. Bad form. Whatever.
The Angels struck back with two runs in the ninth in handing Rodney and the Mariners a tough 6-5 loss at Angel Stadium. The end came when Grant Green grounded a two-out RBI single up the middle.
“I did that for the fans,” Rodney insisted regarding his arrow at the end of the eighth. “When I came on, they booed me. It’s part of the game.”
So is payback.
Mike Trout and Albert Pujols mimicked Rodney’s arrow shoot in the ninth after Trout scored the tying run on Pujols’ double.
“They did?” Rodney asked. “They got emotional, maybe. They beat me tonight. That’s all it is. That’s why they did that.”
So ended a wild weekend series that saw the clubs trade extra-inning victories on Friday and Saturday nights. The Mariners blew leads of 3-0 and 5-3 in failing to win the series.
“Rodney is Rodney,” Trout said. “He’s out there competing. We’re competing against him. It was one of those times we finally got him. He’s got the best of us last few seasons. It was pretty exciting to get him.”
The Los Angeles comeback denied Rodney (1-4) from getting his 200th career save. It was also his third blown save in 30 chances. Joe Thatcher (1-1) got the victory after pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
“It was a tough loss,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said, “but we’ll move on. We’ve had a lot of tough losses. This is certainly not one we’re going to dwell on.”
McClendon said he didn’t see Rodney’s eighth-inning arrow shoot, which put him among a select few at Angel Stadium.
“He woke up our dugout,” Green said. “He did it with Trout, Pujols, Josh coming up, you don’t want to get them fired up or more wanting to get a hit than they normally do.”
The Mariners jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning against Angels starter Tyler Skaggs, who surrendered a two-out homer to Kyle Seager before yielding two more runs on four straight singles.
Los Angeles nicked Mariners starter Chris Young for one run in the first before pulling even when Kole Calhoun and Trout opened the third inning with back-to-back homers.
“Calhoun, that was a bad pitch,” Young said. “Trout, I fell behind 1-0 and was trying to get back in the count. He’s normally pretty patient until he gets a strike, but he jumped on that. Sometimes, it’s going to happen.”
The Mariners positioned Young for a victory by breaking a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning after Corey Hart led off with a walk against Skaggs.
Pinch-runner James Jones took second on Dustin Ackley’s hard grounder to second and scored when Mike Zunino broke a zero-for-25 skid with an RBI double into the left-center gap.
Endy Chavez extended the lead to 5-3 by driving a two-out RBI single to left. It was his first hit this season in 23 at-bats against left-handers, and it finished Skaggs, who gave up five runs and eight hits in 6 2⁄3 innings.
Young handed that two-run lead to Yoevis Medina to start the seventh.
Medina worked himself into a quick jam by yielding a one-out single to Trout and hitting Pujols in the side. Medina struck out Josh Hamilton but yielded an RBI single to Howie Kendrick.
When the ball skipped off the glove of shortstop Brad Miller and into center field, it ended Medina’s scoreless streak at 161⁄3 innings over 20 games.
Medina held the lead by retiring Freese on a grounder to second.
Joe Beimel replaced Medina to start the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Efrem Navarro. After Green flied out, the Mariners called on Rodney for a five-out save.
Chris Iannetta struck out, and Calhoun flied out to deep center. When Chavez clutch the ball for the out, Rodney turned toward the Angels’ bench and pantomimed drawing back his imaginary bow.
“I think it was just one of those things,” Zunino said. “Forgetting what time of the game it was. We’ve played so many innings the last three days that I think everyone was losing track.”
That’s good teammate stuff, but the Angels weren’t buying it.
“Fernando is animated,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Our guys noticed it.”
Rodney (1-4) started the ninth inning by walking Trout, who raced around with the tying run when Pujols flicked a double that fell safely along the right-field line.
That’s when Pujols and Trout did their arrow shoot.
“I know Rodney for 15 years,” Pujols said, “and every time I see him, I tell him I’m going to do that to him if I get a big hit against him. That’s why he was laughing. That’s his thing.”
Hamilton followed by flicking a single into left that moved Pujols to third. Rodney then issued an intentional walk to Kendrick that loaded the bases with no outs.
The Mariners had a chance to get the game to extra innings when David Freese grounded into a short-home-first double play. Another intentional walk to Navarro reloaded the bases.
That got the game to Green, who punched a grounder past a diving Miller.
“I made a good pitch and got a ground ball,” Rodney said, “but we didn’t get the out. That’s part of the game.”
The sharp-end-of-the-arrow part.